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Continuing to serve w/zeal!

Be United! - Book of 1Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  54:28
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Gateway to ministry

Note: In an effort to create more opportunities to interact and to study all together I am going to work on not being so goal driven in the teachings and allow more time for discussion. The outlines will cover the section if we do not complete it in class. So, please stop me, and lets talk more along the way and let’s grow together!
Impacted greatly by meeting Jesus, by the words of Ananias, and after a few days Paul hits the road (ministry road) running. There was an urgency in him, a zeal that continued.
Our passage today will work hand in hand with Gal1:15-24, so you may want to mark that in your bible too as we look at the chronology of the early ministry of Paul.
What we have seen
Paul met Jesus on Damascus road (Act9:3-5)
Paul converted at the command from Ananias to be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit (Act9:17-19; Act22:16)
Now our journey continues and you will see these things
Preaching in Damascus (Act9:20-21)
Goes away to Arabia (Gal1:17)
Returns to Damascus (Act9:22; Gal1:18)
Persecution begins (Act9:23-25)
Travels to Jerusalem (Act9:26-30; Gal1:18-20)
Escapes to Caesarea and out to Tarsus (Act9:30; Gal1:21)
Now is the time for us to look at the Acts passage and then will break it down and bring in the fillers needed from Galatians.
Acts 9:19–20 NASB95
19 and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
Acts 9:21 NASB95
21 All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?”
Acts 9:22–23 NASB95
22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. 23 When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him,
Acts 9:24–25 NASB95
24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.
Acts 9:26–27 NASB95
26 When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
Acts 9:28–29 NASB95
28 And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death.
Acts 9:30–31 NASB95
30 But when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus. 31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Question: When you think of the life of Paul, what things do you think of?
His persecution of the Church?
His conversion after a vision on Damascus Road?
How about his missionary trips?
While the conversion was astounding, confusing, conflicting what followed set up, helped to establish his ministry work for Jesus Christ now. The conversion as mentioned in previous lesson was about AD35-36, and the first missionary trip was about AD45 so there is about 10 years of preparation. I’m sure you don’t think Paul was sitting around doing nothing do you?

Initial Preaching meets opposition

Paul started to preach immediately (Act9:20; Act26:20)
now look at another verse to tie in
Acts 26:20 NASB95
20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.
Paul preached purposefully and intently (Act9:20)
He preached Jesus purposely in the place he was going to persecute
He preached intently that He was the Son of God
Application: Any convert should share Jesus from right where they are at, they don’t have to go on some foreign mission field, Saul started in Damascus, in the synagogues (you know the place religious people hang out).
People were amazed (Act9:21)
Question: Why were the people amazed (look at vv. 21-22)?
They thought he was there under authority of Jerusalem to rid them of the people of the way
Yet he confounded them by proving Jesus is the Christ .
The Jews plotted to kill him after many days (Act9:23)
Question: Maybe when you were convicted and converted people did not want to kill you, but what happened, did anything happen, change when you were converted, any opposition?
But God protected him and got him out using the disciples and a basket (v.24)
(Transition) so they get Paul out of Damascus because the hunter became the hunted and off he goes to Arabia. Now there are some that believe the time of persecution for Paul in Damascus was upon his return from Arabia, but either way, we know he went, returned and went to Jerusalem
Paul in Arabia (Gal1:15-17)
Galatians 1:15–16 NASB95
15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood,
Galatians 1:17 NASB95
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.
He went to Arabia which is desert south east of Damascus, the time there is uncertain, could have been up to 3 years but scripture is not clear on this.
Saul off to Jerusalem (Gal1:18)
Galatians 1:18 NASB95
18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days.
But what did he do in Arabia for what could have been the better part of 3-years? Training by the Lord, reflecting, preparing?
Galatians 1:11–12 NASB95
11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Before Jerusalem, back to Damascus first (Gal1:17; Act9:23-25; 2Cor11:32-33)
We mentioned Gal1:17 already, so no reason to go back there again, but a reminder of our passage today is in order again.
Acts 9:23–24 NASB95
23 When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death;
Acts 9:25 NASB95
25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.
Question: So after the return from Arabia, the plot, the plan, the looking out for Paul was in place, they wanted to kill him, but why? Why do you think they wanted to kill him?
Maybe give one more passage then answer that question
2 Corinthians 11:32–33 NASB95
32 In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, 33 and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands.
OK, now why did they want to kill him?
An interesting fact on the delay before going to Jerusalem, he received the calling from the Lord, received the gospel from Ananias, was obedient, then made a disciple and an apostle by the Lord and was taught by the Lord. He did not get his teaching from man
Galatians 1:11–12 NASB95
11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
(Transition) He got his teaching from the Lord, Damascus was the first place he preached, then got training and returned to preach even more, but then it was time to leave Damascus for a trip to see the Apostles in Jerusalem.

A trip to Jerusalem

From bold beginnings, to humble teachings, to persecutions now comes a time to get confirmation and consultation from the Apostles in Jerusalem.
Acts 9:26–27 NASB95
26 When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
Acts 9:28–29 NASB95
28 And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death.
Acts 9:30 NASB95
30 But when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus.
What did you see, what did you notice, what sticks out to you?
The disciples in Jerusalem were afraid, and did not believe Paul was a disciple (Act9:26).
Question: when you became a disciple of Jesus did everyone accept, believe you? Maybe people were not physically afraid as they were of Paul, but maybe spiritually or emotionally because of the change in your life.
Question: why do you think the disciples were afraid of Paul?
God sends an acceptable, receivable servant Barnabas (Act9:27)
Remember he is gifted encourager that we met back in Act4:36-37 who was a generous giver and example setter for the early church born in Jerusalem.
Paul recounts his experience to the apostles (Act9:27; Gal1:18-19)
Galatians 1:18–19 NASB95
18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.
Paul did not see all the apostles, but did see Cephas (Peter) and James, the Lord’s brother
Now the term apostle here is used in wider sense than the title apostle since James was not an apostle, but he was a spiritual leader of the church in Jerusalem, even Barnabas was called an apostle (Act14:14- - - - this one is not on the outline)
Acts 14:14 NASB95
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out
From rejection to acceptance, now goes to preach with boldness (Act9:28-29, 22:17-21)
From the disciples being afraid, the to apostles acceptance upon a shared testimony Paul then was accepted and went in and out among them.
Paul is proclaiming the name of Jesus and goes to convince, to dispute with the Hellenistic Jews.
Remember the last time he dealt with a Hellenistic Jew he had him killed, Stephen because of the name of Jesus. Armed with the truth, preaching boldly so others can come to know Jesus too.
The Hellenists attempted to kill Paul (Act9:29)
Kill the person and you kill the message is what the hope was, but God had a plan and used the disciples to get him out of town
Saved by knowledge and escapes to Caesarea and then onto Tarsus (Act9:30)
Another passage that helps us to understand the early ministry of Paul, is Act22:17ff, please turn in your bibles there:
Acts 22:17–18 NASB95
17 “It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance, 18 and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’
Acts 22:19–20 NASB95
19 “And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You. 20 ‘And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.’
Acts 22:21 NASB95
21 “And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Paul was reminded, in a vision, and warned about his history, and do you think people may struggle with you when they know your history? Do they automatically accept the new you? Paul was an enemy of the cross before now is an enemy to his former friends.
What can we learn from Paul’s early ministry?
He did not hesitate to proclaim the gospel that changed his life
He served with the same zeal that he had before, but now armed with the truth and started ministry right where he was at
Ask for any closing thoughts.
(Prayer)
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